CPH joins effort to limit infections after joint replacements
Monday, July 25, 2011 - 2:08 pm

POTSDAM -- Canton-Potsdam Hospital has joined and effort to speed adoption of proven methods to prevent surgical site infections (SSIs) after hip and knee replacement surgery.

The program is led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Project JOINTS Initiative, a federally-funded program.

New York is one of five states participating in the first stage of this three-year project. Project JOINTS stands for "Joining Organizations IN Tackling SSI."

The IHI says that it can take years from the publication of evidence-based advancements to when patients can reap the benefits, and that the project is dedicated to accelerating the spread of practices shown to protect patients from potentially devastating infections.

Board-certified orthopedic surgeons A. Martin Clark, Jr., Luc Perrier, and John Savage said they began to recognize patient benefits right away.

Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s project coordinator Lisa McDonald is an experienced operating room nurse who was able to share, via webcasts, the hospital’s tips and tricks for early success with participating hospitals in five other states.

“We all learn from each other’s experiences and our patients are the ultimate winners," McDonald said. "In this case, we took a lead role and provided guidance to other hospitals. In another project, it might be the other way around.”

Launched in April, Project JOINTS is focusing on hip and knee replacement surgery, mainly because post-surgery infections can be catastrophic for the patient and their families. Treatment can mean multiple surgeries, months of medical and physical therapy, prolonged periods of recuperation, and often considerable pain and sizeable out-of-pocket expenses. For some, permanent disability and long-term financial problems are the results.